From Ascension to Pentecost

Introduction

A novena is a traditional devotion whereby 9 days are set aside and dedicated to particular spiritual practice and prayer. It may be to prepare for a feast, to seek a particular grace or to honour God, Our Lady or the saints, (or it may be a mixture of all of the above) It is a time of deepened prayer and often includes elements of fasting, meditation, pilgrimage and works of kindness and compassion.

The practice began from the 9 days spent by the Apostles and Disciples of Jesus together with Mary His Mother from the time of His Ascension until the Descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost day. This is the first and greatest of novenas and it is kept annually by the Church.

You are welcome to join in and any point and open yourself to this outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in your life over these days. You will be joining with the whole Church as we pray together for each other and for the world.

The following poem, Cocoon, by Brother Richard Hendrick may give us insight into these transformative days as we journey towards the feast of Pentecost.

Cocoon

Do not expect cocooning
To be easy.
It is not a time of rest
But of rebirth.
They used to think
That the Caterpillar
Merely slept there,
Awaiting the wonder of wings.
This is not true.
To cocoon means
The breaking down of self,
Of letting go of all
that may be considered
Caterpillar.
Yielding to the chrysalis call.
Dropping all that is old identity,
All that is desire,
All that is hungry,
All that is eating, eating, eating,
Endlessly.
When the moment comes, called
To go to the cool dark underleaf, underlog place,
To spin the silk of silent self,
The Caterpillar dissolves,
Touches the point of nothingness
Of being;
Become now
Neither Caterpillar
Nor Butterfly
Become simply, potential,
Until new form is found,
Until the selfmade tomb is too tight
And Butterfly is birthed,
bursting blessing, beauty.
A journey through stillness
into freedom,
Into flight,
No one who knew the Caterpillar
Would know it in the Butterfly,
No one who knows the Butterfly
Would see in it
Even the memory
Of Caterpillar,
Yet within there is
A continuity of being
A new recipe out of old ingredients
A life remade, a seed flowered, a potency fulfilled,
There is pain in this
I am sure.
How could there not be?
There is always pain
In surrender,
In transformation,
In new life, new birth
Death before resurrection,
Letting go, before letting be
This is the divine order of things
This is why there hides
Even here, even now,
In all your old Caterpillar desiring,
In the hunger at the core of your being,
The promise of Butterfly
If you would but surrender
To the call
Of the cocoon.
If you would know,
even for a day,
The wonder of wings
The freedom of flight.

Resources used in preparing this Novena

Novena of Reflection and Prayer in preparation for Pentecost by Sean Goan
Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit 2019 by Br. Richard Hendrick https://www.capuchinfranciscans.ie

Music:

Veni Sancte Spiritus: Laudate Album

Spirit of God: Album: God Beyond All Names, Bernadette Farrell

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